Volunteers rescue thousands of ‘cold-stunned’ sea turtles washed up on Texas beaches
TEXAS (US) – The unusual cold snap which has frozen Texas has wreaked havoc on thousands of turtles which are washing up on the beaches of South Padre Island.
Volunteers have chipped in by bringing 4,700 of them to a convention centre, where they are being kept in tubs and special enclosures before being released when the waters become warm.
“It’s an unprecedented event,” said Wendy Knight, executive director of research and conservation centre Sea Turtle Inc, which is involved with the rescue efforts. Knight said only 100-500 turtles wash up on the beaches in south Texas during winter every year.
The cold spell has triggered blackouts leaving millions in the state without heat.
Footage from a video shot by Ed Caum, executive director of the South Padre Island Convention and Visitors Bureau, showed volunteers carefully placing the creatures on a trolley and the convention centre’s floor being covered in turtles.
According to Caum, the turtles are “cold-stunned” – a condition where cold-blooded animals suddenly demonstrate hypothermic reactions such as lethargy and an inability to move when there is a cold spell.
“We’ve brought them to the convention centre to get their core temperatures back up,” said Caum in one of the videos.
Caum said in a video on Wednesday how the centre’s power and water supplies were re-established overnight.
“We’ve expanded down both wings. The heat is coming back up in the corridor,” Caum.
“We’ve collected a lot, now, we’ll try to save them,” Caum said.